Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Through discussions and interviews with writers, artists and health professionals, author friends James McKenzie Watson and Ashley Kalagian Blunt explore the big questions: how do books get written? How do people navigate life with chronic illness? And just what are you reading?

Ashley Kalagian Blunt is the author of Dark Mode, an internationally published psychological thriller. Her earlier books are How to Be Australian, a memoir, and My Name Is Revenge, collected fiction and essays. Her writing appears in the Sydney Morning Herald, Overland, Griffith Review, Sydney Review of Books, and more. Ashley is an enthusiastic teacher of writing and creativity. Originally from Canada, she has lived and worked in South Korea, Peru and Mexico. Find her on Twitter and Instagram or visit her website.

James McKenzie Watson is the author of Denizen, which won the 2021 Penguin Literary Prize and was shortlisted in 2023 Ned Kelly Awards for Best Debut. His writing has appeared in The GuardianMeanjinKill Your Darlings and the Newtown Review of Books. He has appeared at events including the Sydney Writers Festival, Newcastle Writers Festival and BAD Crime Sydney. He works as a nurse. Find him on Twitter and Instagram or visit his website.

Nov 23, 2021

James and Ashley speak with Melbourne-based author Jacinta Dietrich about her debut book 'This Is Us Now', which explores a young couple's relationship as one of them faces a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Based on her boyfriend's experience of surviving lymphoma, the book explores two individuals who don't know where their relationship is going and have to figure out how they feel about each other, all as one of them goes through chemo. Jacinta discusses how cancer treatment 'suppresses every part of a relationship', her decision to write the book she needed to read, and how she managed to write honestly about difficult feelings. 

Jacinta Dietrich is a writer and editor who holds a Master of Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne. 'This Is Us Now' is her first book. You can order it from Booktopia and bookshops across Australia

Books and authors discussed in this episode:

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green; 
  • Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott;
  • The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks;  
  • Lee Kofman (featured in episode 3); 
  • Earthlings by Sayaka Murata; 
  • Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata; 
  • Late Bloomer by Clem Bastow; 
  • Kay Kerr (featured in episode 37);  
  • The Rúin by Dervla McTiernan; 
  • Tana French; 
  • Dinuka McKenzie; 
  • Andrew Solomon, of course! 
  • Ten Thousand Aftershocks by Michelle Tom (featured in episode 38); 
  • Lyn Yeowart (featured in episode 39

Get in touch!